Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crime Happens or How I survived life in Baltimore...

When I was a kid I had plenty of dream places I wanted to live. Well some of the places weren't dream places but places that I could actually see myself living in. NY and Tokyo to be exact. Once I got older I started dreaming about other places and after I visited certain places; they started to creep into those "I wouldn't mind living there" places. For those of you who know me personally, you know I hold an extreme special place for Chicago. For this post I will probably pick on Chicago a lot. Maybe not. :)

All of these places I have dreamed of and thought of in my mind would be great places to go. Great places to start a new life in. Most of the places stateside I "habitatually covet" are high crime destinations. Coming from the little big city that is Baltimore, I am all to familiar with crime. I think in some ways I have gotten to a place where in my mind it's almost a way of life in Baltimore. I won't say I am desensitized to it but when you live in a city that averages 40 murders per 100k people and only has a little over 650K; you get that "I living in Baltimore...that's how they do" feeling.

In a way when I am a city like New York or Chicago, which are just as violent; it seems easy to feel like I belong or like it's not like I haven't lived in this environment before. I recall visiting Chicago about 8 years ago waiting for my ride at the Dan Ryan Expressway, up around 95th and Dan Ryan. I was told just stay where I was and to not to wander because it was a dangerous neighborhood. Pretty unsavory. But I sometimes like to think of myself as a "man's man" so I wandered a little bit. After seeing some of the exchanges, interactions and "unsavoriness," I came to the conclusion that this is not unlike anything I have seen before. In my mind it was just like the "410" except it was the "773." All through life, I have heard from people that you don't want to go there or you shouldn't go in that neighborhood. I have a friend who has worked in DC about 15 years. In 2000 when I started college in DC, he warned me about SE DC. "You don't want to spend too much time there...". I remember one day being on the metro back to Union Station and hearing this altercation between two old guys and the one old guy screamed he was from SE and the other humbled himself. I remember at the point saying to myself, I MUST VENTURE TO SE DC! Again not unlike anything you would see in Baltimore. I feel like there are a lot of us who do realize that Baltimore was dangerous way before The Wire.

I am one of those people who while in their mind knows that things are rough still feels like he is being adventurous when walking into certain "dangerous" surroundings. Don't get me wrong I am not so naive that I would blindly walk into let's say a war torn country but I do have no qualms with walking into an urban city that many people have viewed or view as "hell on earth.". I guess you can see it's a matter of strong faith or zen belief, if you will.

I talk so much about how I would love to live in Chicago or New York. I talk about what a great experience it would be to do so. I never think about the crime. The crime rarely comes up. If we were to go by what statistics say, it's probably safer to say its safer to live in Chicago or New York than Baltimore. Now I know a lot of people may disagree with me but as I mentioned before my mind has basically taken crime out of the equation. I am always hearing people who have moved here talking about how Baltimore is such a great place to live and have often wondered if they even think of baltimore as a dangerous city. I know that might come off as contradictory of my argument earlier in this post but that's just my native baltimorean mind speaking. As someone from here, I have it ingrained in my mind no matter how much or how often, I view crime here as commonplace. As a matter of fact, I sometimes wonder if I have the opportunity to live in a "Chicago" will I adopt that same mindset as people who move here. My bets on YES.
Well, I am glad I got the chance to share with you guys. I hope my ramblings didn't go off kilter too far and lose it's cohesiveness. If it did, I hope you guys caught the gist of it. I will continue this topic again at a later date. Until then...


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